summer bolognese
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Summer Bolognese 2.0

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One of the few downsides to summer is that cooking hearty meals isn’t usually something you want. When its hot and gross out, do you really want a heavy meat dish? So, I have been continuing to experiment with making bolognese a good summer meal. I really wanted to make something like the Rabbit Bolognese (yes, Rob made a pasta sauce with a rabbit sausage) we made back in April; however, just a little lighter.

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To really get that lighter flavor, I started with the veggies base. This time around I went with leek. If you aren’t familiar with leek, think really big green onion. It’s got a great light oniony flavor that doesn’t overpower other flavors. Of course, make sure you wash them; they collect sand and dirt as the grow.

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For that pasta sauce, Rob used a gamey meat which is great in the winter, but not really a summer thing. I had used chicken for my last summer bolognese, but wanted to add a little more flavor and fat content. So for this one, I went with a combo chicken sausage and ground pork. Still really light, but with just a little more meatiness.

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The other major thing I needed to look at was the liquid. For the rabbit pasta, Rob used marsala wine. It has a great flavor, but its a little more of a wintery flavor to me. Thankfully, Rob had the answer here: Sherry. Not sherry vinegar, but actual sherry wine. Its got a brighter flavor and aroma than marsala and really brings out some of the natural aromas in the other ingredients.

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To round out the flavors, I used fresh basil and thyme for a really good brightness. I also used my now go to Calabrian chilis for that really bright, almost sweet spiciness. If you haven’t tried them yet, you really should since they provide such a great depth of flavor.

Summer Bolognese 2.0

A updated summer bolognese recipe based on one of Rob's favorite gamey winter varieties.
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time25 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Italian
Keyword: basil, bolognese, calabrian chili, chicken sausage, gnocchi, Italian, italian sausage, pasta, pasta sauce, pork, ragu, sherry
Servings: 4 People


  • Lb  Gnocchi
  • 3/4  Lb  Chicken Sausage
  • 1 Lb Ground Pork
  • 20  Oz  Canned Tomato Puree
  • 1 Leek finely diced
  • Garlic Cloves  finely diced
  • Calabrian Chilis  finely chopped
  • 3 Sprigs Thyme Leaves
  • Basil Leaves julienned
  • 1/2 Cup Sherry Wine
  • Tsp  Sherry Vinegar
  • Salt & Pepper to taste


  • Cook the gnocchi per package instructions, it cooks really fast so its best to wait a bit.
  • Heat about 1 Tbs of olive oil in a skillet or sauce pan over medium heat.
  • Add the leek, cook for about 4 minutes.
  • Add the meat, cook for about 7-8 minutes and mostly cooked through.
  • Add the garlic, herbs, and calabrian chili, cook for an additional minute.
  • Pour in the Sherry, allow to reduce for 2-3 minutes.
Add the tomato puree.
  • Bring to a simmer and reduce heat to low. Simmer for 10-15 minutes.

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